Radar showed US balloonists plunging at 50 mph

BARI, Italy — The flight director for a balloon race says Croatian radar showed that a missing pair of American balloonists plunged at a rapid 50 mph (80 kph) before disappearing.

Flight director Don Cameron says that high rate of descent, if confirmed, leads him to be pessimistic about the fate of veteran pilots Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer Davis.

Abruzzo and Davis were participating in the 54th Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race when contact was lost Wednesday morning over the Adriatic Sea.

Cameron said he received information today from Zagreb’s air traffic control indicating the balloon was at 5,300 feet (1,615 meters) and descended at a rate of 50 mph until 600 feet (180 meters).

Italian, U.S. and Croatian search and rescue teams are scouring the area.


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